The bunch toss concept can be manipulated in several ways to attack different fronts, all of which are included in this report.
By Mike Kuchar
With Frank Giufre
Offensive Line Coach
University of Connecticut
Editor’s Note: This is the second report in a two-part series on UCONN’s Pin and Pull run concept. Part one focused on the three-man surface concept. Many of the block techniques associated with this report are further explained in .
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For most offensive play callers, the 10 personnel four wide run game can be very limited. You have your base inside game such as inside zone or trap and your base outside run game like stretch or outside zone, but after that it gets limited. While many coaches prefer to run some toss game out of three-man surface bunch sets, the same can be done from the two-surface side without a tight end. The benefits are simple- it gets the ball on the perimeter in a hurry with bigger bodies lead blocking for the ball carrier. But in order to run the scheme with a great deal of efficiency, it’s important to educate the back on whom to read based on the defensive front presented. With many defensive structures relying on pressure tendencies in the fringe red zone area (where the play is mostly run), the offensive line must be able to protect any potential leakage that can stall the play.
Advantages of Tagging Pin and Pull Runs
- Uses high percentage down blocks to separate the defense. Not necessary to crush defenders, just to eliminate penetration.
- Opportunity to get two pullers in front of the ball carrier.
- Handles bigger defenders in the box
- Gets the ball out in the perimeter. As Coach Guifre told us, “the offensive line likes screens but this gets them running to hit a defensive back. It becomes fun. You’re not trying to knock people off the ball.”
- Efficient red zone play because of the tight formation spacing.
Box Blocking Rules
The bunch toss concept can be manipulated in several ways to attack different fronts- all of which are included in this report. In most cases, the first puller (usually the Tackle) will block the first defender past the identification.
But regardless of the tags, there are three primary blocks associated with blocking the box in this run game:
- Down Block
- Pull Blocks
- Reach Blocks
Perimeter Blocking Rules
While there are many adjustments to blocking this concept against various defensive schemes, some of the main components of the concept consist of the following:
“One Block”- this is the crack block used by the first blocker at the point of attack. The intent is to set the down block on the defensive end.
“Two Block”- this is the seal block, which is used to seal the defense from outside in.
For two man surfaces, in most cases the Y is executing the one block, while the Z executes the seal block but in some cases the blocking can get switched off. “We treat it like pizza,” says Giufre (speaking like a true offensive line coach). “If he takes my piece, I take his.” In order to get the one block necessary at the point of attack, Coach Guifre will tell the Y on his motion to be in a position to touch the play side tackle’s hip before contact.
Timer Step for RB’s
In order to mesh up the timing of the pullers with the ball carrier, Coach Giufre teaches a “timing” step for the ball carrier. “He will pick up and put down his foot away from where he was going to try and buy the offensive line some time,” said Coach Giufre. “Because if we get poor down blocks he may get stuck and not be able to get around it. The quarterback is able to pitch it and now we’re all in sync. If the running back gets out in front of the offensive line you got negative plays. He needs to stay flat, stay wide and get on the sidewalk. Ideally, we want it to hit outside the end of the bunch and circle the field.”
Daily Drill Work for Toss Concept
According to Coach Giufre, the most important think he does to develop the concept is work a Pin and Pull drill for eight minutes after the stretch period. It’s basically a half-line team drill that includes the offensive line, receivers, running backs and quarterbacks. All of the tags are worked in this scheme against the various fronts UCONN will be seeing that week.
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- What Coach Giufre tells the tackle to do against even front defenses that will two-gap the bubble side of the formation.
- What adjustments he makes against the Bear front with immediate C gap support coming from the Sam linebacker.
- Plus, narrated game film by Coach Giufre on this concept.
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The two-surface pin and pull game can be implemented from virtually any personnel grouping, providing you can teach the “one” and “two” blocks to all skill players. The crack doesn’t need to be a dominating block. Instead Coach Giufre preaches the importance of “stalling the movement” of defenders. Once the box is sealed, the scheme allows bigger Tackles to get out on the perimeter and block smaller defensive backs. Often times, the back gets hidden behind these mammoth tackles at the point of attack.
About Coach Giufre: Frank Giufre begins his first season as the offensive line coach for the UConn football team. Giufre spent the last six seasons as the offensive quality control coach for the Indianapolis Colts. As part of his duties as the offensive quality control coach he served as the assistant tight ends coach during the 2012 season and as the assistant offensive line coach from 2013-17. In total, Giufre has 17 years of coaching experience, including 11 seasons in college football.